What if college football had a trade deadline? Ten hypothetical deals
The college football season is only a month away, meaning fans can soon focus more on games and less on the offseason rumor mill. But before delving back into the X’s and O’s, and using the MLB trade deadline as a jumping off point, Campus Union has decided to partake in one more whimsical thought exercise: imagining what it would be like if college football allowed trades.
Obviously, these deals are all hypothetical and go against NCAA regulations, and many of them involve several non-football elements. But it’s July, and negotiating hypothetical trades is fun. Zac Ellis and Martin Rickman offer up 10 moves they’d like to see happen.
1. Clemson trades The Tiger to Auburn for Aubie the Tiger and a repair to Howard’s Rock: Foul things are afoot in Clemson, and seeing as Auburn has been there, done that with regard to vandalism after Harvey Updyke and Toomer’s Corner, the school knows exactly how to make things right at Howard’s Rock. All Auburn asks in return is a jolt to jumpstart its program under new coach Gus Malzahn. Who better to inject a little energy than the Clemson tiger, known affectionately to EDSBS readers as “8-Ball”? This is a win-win for both teams if you ask me. – MR
2. Cincinnati trades its spot in the American Athletic Conference, coach Tommy Tuberville, the rights to Skyline Chili and two recruits to be named later to Kansas for coach Charlie Weis and its spot in the Big 12: Nobody is really fooled here; this was only Cincinnati’s 600th attempt to leave the American, where its presence is not unlike a guy at a party who repeatedly looks down at his watch. After spending the past three seasons working to get out of Texas Tech, Tuberville returns to a rural Big 12 campus by relocating to Lawrence. This trade makes the Bearcats finally feel like one of college football’s big boys, but it doesn’t come without a price. Cincy gives the Jayhawks a recruiting bump and, more importantly, a monopoly on the Midwest’s best chili. – ZE
3. North Carolina trades its invisibility cloak (or whatever it’s using to escape NCAA punishment) for Ohio State’s marching band: This deal is mutually beneficial to both sides. UNC has some kind of magical device that keeps the school out from under the NCAA microscope, and, boy, if only Urban Meyer had that cloak he needs that cloak he must have that cloak. What’s it going to take to get it? That’s right: the Ohio State band. The Tar Heels could do a lot with the ability to Dot the I, and only people in Ohio truly understand what that power holds. – MR
4. Oregon trades running back De’Anthony Thomas to Texas Tech for linebackers Will Smith and Sam Eguavoen and the right to make the Red Raiders a Nike program: The Ducks are one of the few programs that wouldn’t suffer drastically from the loss of Thomas; returning dual-threat quarterback Marcus Mariota and incoming five-star tailback Thomas Tyner may be able to help the ground game remain just as potent without him. The Red Raiders, on the other hand, would love to add Thomas to a rushing attack that finished 10th in the Big 12 last season. Though the Ducks bolster their defense by securing Smith and Eguavoen in the swap, they demand one final stipulation: Texas Tech must switch from being an Under Armour school to a Nike school, a savvy maneuver by Phil Knight to take advantage of Kliff Kingsbury’s marketing appeal. – ZE
5. Maryland trades coach Randy Edsall, ‘Rockin’ Randy’ ice cream and the rights to National Bohemian beer to the Phoenix Suns for their athletic trainers: It’s no secret the Terps need a functional quarterback, or, at the very least, the ability to build a functional quarterback from spare parts. Who is better at fixing spare parts than the Phoenix Suns’ training staff? But a deal for those honorable folks won’t come cheap. The Suns are going to require Randy Edsall and his ice cream (it gets hot in Arizona). To sweeten the pot, Maryland will have to offer up Natty Bo; it’s just good business. – MR
6. USC trades assistant coach Ed Orgeron and three truckloads of Red Bull to Louisiana-Lafayette for last year’s New Orleans Bowl win and the use of the term “Ragin’” in its nickname: With veins undoubtedly full of Louisiana gumbo, Orgeron returns to the bayou to serve the Louisiana-Lafayette faithful, the only fan base who can truly understand Orgeron’s dialect. In return, USC receives the Cajuns’ New Orleans Bowl victory from last season, a postseason win conspicuously absent from the program’s résumé in 2012, and something much more significant. Lane Kiffin’s squad sparks excitement among rabid Los Angelinos with a new team mascot, the Ragin’ Trojan. Instant image makeover. RAGIN’ TROJANS. – ZE
7. Northern Illinois trades quarterback Jordan Lynch to Florida State for running back Devonta Freeman, cornerback P.J. Williams and quarterback Jacob Coker: This trade wouldn’t be made without a bit of dramatic irony. After Jordan Lynch called out (or didn’t call out, depending on who you believe) Florida State’s defense before the Orange Bowl, ‘Noles’ linebacker Vince Williams dissed Lynch as ‘terrible,’ a harsh critique of a player who finished the season with 4,953 yards of total offense. Yet redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston could use a little extra time to develop — and the thought of pairing Lynch and Winston in certain formations is downright scary. Coupling Lynch with FSU’s elite defense would instantly make the team a legit threat to win the title. Meanwhile, the Huskies get plenty of value back in return: Coker is a more than serviceable replacement, Freeman is a talented running back and the versatile Williams shores up a secondary in need of veteran leadership. – MR
8. North Carolina and South Carolina trade directions and team colors: These two programs could never decide which deserves to go by “Carolina,” so flipping prefixes and uniform colors seems like the next best thing. By becoming the new South Carolina, the garnet-and-black-clad Tar Heels mask their NCAA troubles and divert attention to Larry Fedora’s up-tempo offense. Meanwhile, Steve Spurrier would make a baby blue visor look fashionable as the coach of the North Carolina Gamecocks, all while hiding his true intention behind the trade: to ultimately troll to his former employer, Duke. “This here’s the right side of Tobacco Road,” Spurrier would say with a cackle. — ZE
9. Alabama trades its stable of running backs to Notre Dame for football independence: Ah, yes. The trade to end all trades. Alabama seems to have a monopoly on hard-running, NFL-ready backs. Notre Dame has coveted them for quite some time. But there’s only one thing that could make this deal appealing to Nick Saban and Alabama: the right to be called an FBS Independent. The Great Clockmaker may not let this trade play out because an Independent Crimson Tide might be unstoppable, like the football equivalent of Skynet. But there is value in the move for Notre Dame, especially if the Irish were ultimately considering joining the ACC as a full member anyway. – MR
10. South Carolina trades defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to Colorado for basically everything the school owns: The Gamecocks normally wouldn’t consider trading the consensus best defensive player in the game, but some offers simply can’t be ignored. In an effort to reinvigorate downtrodden Colorado, new head coach Mike MacIntyre engineers the biggest trade in college football history. The Buffaloes send 15 scholarships per year for four years, unlimited use of Folsom Field, half of the university’s endowment, a cargo plane full of actual buffaloes and a private peak in the Rocky Mountains to South Carolina for the defender who delivered last season’s most crushing hit. Colorado also offers adjunct professorship to Clowney. Is it a lot to give up? Yes. But no move is too drastic for a team that went 1-11 in 2012. – ZE